Upcoming life simulator Life By You, currently in development at Paradox Tectonic, will reportedly include full, uncensored nudity in gameplay rather than the standard mosaic blur found in rival game, The Sims. In intimate adult situations, players will be able to see bodies in full detail, as a means to better represent the full scope of human life.
No mods will be needed to access this uncensored view, however, nudity will be off as a default. While players will be able to toggle explicit content, its inclusion means Life by You is likely to be an adult-targeted (and rated) game.
According to creative lead Rod Humble, who formerly worked on The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, the decision to include nudity in the game was the result of Paradox being a European studio.
‘We’re a European company,’ Humble recently told Axios. ‘Our hang-ups are all around violence. This game’s got no violence. But it does come with nudity … I wanted the emotional centre of this game to be more grown up and respect the audience’s intelligence.’
This approach differs wildly from EA’s stance on The Sims, which has primarily been a family-focussed game. While sex is present in day-to-day gameplay, it is abstracted with the aforementioned mosaic blur, and characters will be hidden when so-called ‘WooHoo’ interactions occur. This can be tweaked with the use of mods, but explicit sexuality is generally considered taboo in base gameplay.
Life by You is looking to change that, inspired by the sex-positive movement, and European attitudes towards the beauty of nude bodies. A more adult-focussed approach will also seemingly allow Paradox to better depict the intricacies of human life, and the complications of adult relationships.
This unique twist may attract an alternative crowd to Life by You, but a respectful depiction of intimacy in the life simulator genre also has the potential to break taboos, and explore relationships in a new, more human light. The balance between exploitation and realistic depiction may be difficult to get right, but given the talent and knowledge at Paradox, there is hope for meaningful exploration.
Life by You launches in early access via the Epic Games Store on 12 September 2023.